What is a Sunflower?
Sunflower, scientifically known as Helianthus annus, belongs to the Asteraceae family. It comprises the cluster of small flowers, alternate leaves, and an erect stem. Sunflower has a beautiful yellowish appearance and comes in different sizes, however, it is usually large.
Sunflower oil is nonvolatile and is useful for various culinary purposes. It is mainly produced in Argentina, Ukraine, and Russia.
19 Benefits of Sunflower Oil
Treats Cardiovascular Diseases
Sunflower oil contains phytochemicals which are beneficial to the heart. Its monounsaturated fat-contents add to its heart-healing quality. What’s more? It contains selenium oil which reduces the risk of hepatic degradation.
Sunflower oil breaks down accumulated fat as a result of the monounsaturated fats it contains. Its lecithin content also helps maintain HDL cholesterol.
Beautifies the Skin
Sunflower oil is moisturizing, and makes the skin super beautiful, due to its emollient nature and viscous composition. Its antioxidant content keeps free radicals away, hence keeps the skin attractively beautiful, and treats infections such as edema and eczema.
What’s more? Sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, helping you ensure a skin free from the harm of ultraviolet rays.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Sunflower oil contains a compound called tocopherol which gets rid of free radicals, hence wards off cancer.
Sunflower oil is capable of boosting the immune system, hence it wards off diseases, and keeps the body healthy.
Treats Respiratory Conditions
Sunflower oil is effective at treating asthmatic symptoms and a number of respiratory diseases as a result of its anti-inflammatory property.
Sunflower oil protects infants from various infections as a result of certain chemical contents which it possesses.
Treats Athlete’s Foot
Sunflower oil is effective at treating athlete’s foot and other fungal infections that cause itching, burning, or stinging.
Reduces Aging Signs
Sunflower oil contains antioxidants which eliminate toxins and give you a spotless and wrinkle-free skin, hence reduces signs of aging.
Sunflower oil is enriched with vitamins A, C, D, and E, that make it a potent treatment for acne. It also contains fatty acids which act as antioxidants that get of acne-causing bacteria and generate new skin cells.
Excellent for Dry Skin
Sunflower oil improves skin moisture retention. It is an excellent choice for people with dehydrated or sensitive skin. Regular application of sunflower oil eliminates impurities and dead cells and makes the skin smooth and moisturized.
Rich in Beta-Carotene
Sunflower oil is rich in beta-carotene, a fat-soluble compound that can be converted to vitamin A. Beta-carotene contains antioxidant properties which make it beneficial for the skin and general health.
Enhances Skin Healing
Sunflower oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties that enhance the healing of skin redness and roughness. Its omega-6 fatty acid content decreases inflammation and aids the development of new skin cells.
Sunflower oil contains unsaturated fats that will energize you. It aids the discharge of glycogen from the liver into the bloodstream. Glycogen boosts energy levels.
Incorporating sunflower oil in your meals gives you an amazing feeling after eating. It makes digestion much easier, unlike some other cooking oils which contain unhealthy preservatives.
Stimulates Hair Growth
Sunflower oil contains oleic acid which is essential for hair growth, moisture, and inhibiting breakage. Its vitamin and mineral contents also add to its hair growth quality.
Improves Scalp Health
Sunflower oil is bursting with vitamin E which enhances the reduction of bacteria and improves scalp health. It also reduces the possibility of hair thinning, baldness, and early hair loss.
Sunflower oil contains gamma alpha-linoleic acids which strengthen prevent breakage and strengthens hair.
Improves Hair Shine
Sunflower oil, like jojoba oil, is a light non-polar solvent which helps retain water. It penetrates the hair shaft to retain moisture. Its low levels of saturated and trans fat add moisture to hair, especially during winter. It also improves hair shine and softens the hair. Keep your hair looking beautiful with sunflower oil.
Tips for Selecting and Storing Sunflower Oil
- Buying sunflower oil from a reputable brand is quite important.
- Always ensure that the oil is in a sealed container.
- You should store sunflower oil at room temperature.
- Sunflower oil is best stored in stainless steel or plastic containers.
Tips for Growing Sunflower
- Plant sunflower seeds 1-3 inches deep, and 6-12 inches apart.
- Protect sunflower seedlings with row covers or screening until they are two feet high. This is to ward off birds and other animals.
- Sunflowers thrive in well-drained soil with adequate organic matter. You may apply fertilizers high in phosphorus and potassium to make them grow faster.
- Water sunflowers regularly.
- Note that sunflowers stop to bloom during periods of drought.
- Mulching aids soil moisture and weed suppression, as sunflowers don’t thrive amidst weed competition.
- Adequate exposure to the sun is vital.
How to Combat Sunflower Pests
Birds and Squirrels
Frightening devices and netting help ward off birds and squirrels. You may also grow the sunflower plant in a vegetable garden, and plant a coarse-leaved vegetable around it.
The sunflower moth would usually lay its eggs on the plant and feed on flower heads, leaving holes in the seed. Disposing infected plants may be effective in this case.
To avoid fungal diseases such as sclerotinia and downy mildew, ensure adequate air circulation for sunflower plants.
Side Effects of Sunflower Oil
Risk of Diabetes
Sunflower oil contains omega3 fatty acids. Excessive consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may cause diabetes and some other health issues.
Risk of Heart Disease
Saturated fat in sunflower oil can be unhealthy because it raises cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease.
Excess Calorie Consumption
Sunflower oil contains nine calories per gram. If you don’t consume it in moderation, it may cause health issues.
Other Health Conditions
Excessive consumption of sunflower oil may make you vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis, and a number of other chronic diseases.
Quick Sunflower Facts
- Sunflower is the only flower with “flower” in its name.
- People believe that sunflower symbolizes faith, loyalty, and adoration.
- Sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, and the state flower of Kansas.
- Sunflowers can grow as tall as 8-12 feet within six months.
- Sunflower oil is quite versatile: it is used to cook, condition hair, soften leather, and as animal feed and biodiesel.
- For many centuries, Americans have used sunflowers as medicine, food, oil, and dye.
- Sunflowers have a giant flower made up of tiny blooms. Seeds develop at the center of this flower, and it also harbors bees.
- Sunflowers have a trait called heliotropism, which means that at the bud stage, the bud of the sunflower faces the sun at all times throughout the day, first facing the east, then the west. This is why “tournesol”, the French word for sunflower literally translates to “turned sun”, referring to its ability to turn itself to the sun.
- Hans-Peter Schiffer, in Germany, grew the longest sunflower of 30 feet, 1 inch in 2014.
- To keep birds away from sunflowers, put a mesh bag over the bloom until the seeds are ripe.
- Sunflowers are soil decontaminators; they remove toxins such as arsenic, uranium, and lead from the soil.
- There are over 50 varieties of sunflowers — some have striped petals, while others have different interior shades.
- Got a sunflower that no longer has seeds on the inside? You can use the head of the sunflower as a natural scrubbing tool!
- Sunflowers without seeds on the inside are perfect scrubbing tools.
Now That You Know…
Sunflower oil has diverse health benefits. It has special benefits for hair, skin, and general health. Now that you have a sound understanding of the oil and sunflower itself, you can use it properly and enjoy its benefits.